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Atheist group files lawsuit over church tax status

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit alleging the Internal Revenue Service is giving unconstitutional preferential treatment to churches and other religious organizations.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Madison says the IRS is violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as well as constitutional equal protection rights by exempting churches from having to file a detailed application form, fee and annual information form to receive and maintain tax-exempt status.

According to the lawsuit, preferential treatment gives churches an exclusive and discriminatory benefit not afforded other secular nonprofits like the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

An IRS spokesman had no comment.

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